More Letters: Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. God’s Throne. Eternal Creatures.
“Day and night they never stop saying:
‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,
who was, and is, and is to come.’’”
Revelation 4:8 (NIV)
If you have been following along at home, you know that the prospect of eternal life is the most terrifying thing I can imagine. The fear started when I was very young – I had my first panic attack about it around six years old. My parents thought it was odd, perhaps even cute. I was so young that I couldn’t even understand what a tremendous gift I had been given. Something like that. I learned the word “apeirophobia” – the fear of infinity. I was shocked to learn it was a real, diagnosable fear. Intervention to help with it? Eh… learn to get over it.
So I have never had any real interest in Heaven. Sure, the eternal paradise part sounds nice, but at the end of the day, it still seems like a tarantula wrapped up in a really nice bow. (Oh, I have arachnophobia as well) A pastor once told my congregation that heaven will be awesome. We will all have jobs and social lives, just like on Earth. I would love to find that pastor and beg him to show me the biblical proof of that, as I have just read the whole Bible and got back nada on that front.
A therapist once told me that my fear is rooted in an inability to visualize eternity. I said that might be true and asked how I might do that. She said she didn’t know.
Revelation gives us our first glimpse into Heaven. A spirit whisks John up the throne of God, which is surrounded by 24 elders seated in their own thrones. The man sitting on the central throne looks of jasper, ruby, and rainbow, and the elders wear white robes and gold crowns.
Then, there are four unnamed beasts, but luckily, John tells us they looked like a lion, an ox, a human, and an eagle. Each has six wings and eyes covering every part of their body (even under the wings). These creatures sing “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” forever on a loop. Meanwhile, the 24 elders bow down and worship God forever.
Don’t believe me? Read it for yourself.
I am not sure any seven-year-old wants to here that description of Heaven. I think that would make them want to maybe give Hell a try. Both sound like unique forms of torture to me.
But let’s game this out for the benefit of the doubt. If Heaven truly is just praising God forever and ever and we are eternally blissful doing it, then wouldn’t it still be paradise? Maybe we are no longer capable of feeling monotony?
I am always curious how people conceptualize the Heaven (or the afterlife in general). So I ask, what do you think of it? Send me an e-mail or chime in below. Honestly, there’s only two weeks left. Now’s your chance.
You know my opinion. To quote the opening line of Arcade Fire’s aptly titled song “Afterlife:”
“Afterlife. Oh my God, what an awful word.”